Published on 29th May, 2003
The Information Theory and the End of Materialism
By Harun Yahya
philosophy lies at the basis of the theory of evolution.
Materialism rests on the supposition that everything that exists
is matter. According to this philosophy, matter has existed
since eternity, will continue to exist forever, and there is
nothing but matter. In order to provide support for their claim,
materialists use a logic called “reductionism.” This
is the idea that things which are not observable can also be
explained by material causes.
make matters clearer, let us take the example of the human mind.
It is evident that the mind cannot be touched or seen, moreover,
it has no centre in the human brain. This situation unavoidably
leads us to the conclusion that mind is a concept beyond matter.
Therefore, the being which we refer to as “I,” who
thinks, loves, fears, worries, and feels pleasure or pain, is
not a material being in the same way as a sofa, a table or a
however, claim that mind is “reducible to matter.” According
to the materialist claim, thinking, loving, worrying and all our
mental activities are nothing but chemical reactions taking
place between the atoms in the brain. The famous materialist
philosopher Karl Vogt is notorious for his assertion that “the
brain secretes thought just as the liver secretes bile.” (Encyclopaedia
Britannica, "Modern Materialism”) Bile,
however, is matter, whereas there is no evidence that thought
is a logical deduction. However, a logical deduction can be
based on solid grounds or on shaky ones. For this reason, the
question we need to ask is: What happens when reductionism is
compared to scientific data? Nineteenth-century
materialist scientists and thinkers thought that the answer
would be that science verifies reductionism. Twentieth-century
science, however, has revealed a very different picture.
of the most salient features of this picture is “information,”
which is present in nature and can never be reduced to
Difference between Matter and Information
we all know, there is incredibly comprehensive information
contained in the DNA of living things. Something as small as a
hundred thousandth of a millimetre across contains a sort of “data
bank” that specifies all the physical details of the body
of a living thing. Moreover, the body also contains a system
that reads this information, interprets it and carries out “production”
in line with it. In all living cells, the information in the DNA
is “read” by various enzymes, and proteins are
produced. This system makes possible the production of millions
of proteins every second, of just the required type for just the
places where they are needed in our bodies. In this way, dead
eye cells are replaced by living ones, and old blood cells by
this point, let us consider the claim of materialism: Is it
possible that the information in DNA could be reduced to matter,
as materialists suggest? Or, in other words, can it be accepted
that DNA is merely a collection of matter, and the information
it contains came about as a result of the random interactions of
such pieces of matter?
the scientific research, experiments and observations carried
out in the twentieth century show that the answer to this
question is a definite “No.” The director of the
German Federal Physics and Technology Institute, Prof. Werner
Gitt, has this to say on the issue:
coding system always entails a nonmaterial intellectual process.
A physical matter cannot produce an information code. All
experiences show that every piece of creative information
represents some mental effort and can be traced to a personal
idea-giver who exercised his own free will, and who is endowed
with an intelligent mind. There is no known law of nature, no
known process and no known sequence of events which can cause
information to originate by itself in matter.
Gitt’s words summarize the conclusions of “information
theory,” which has been developed in the last 50 years, and
which is accepted as a part of thermodynamics. Information
theory investigates the origin and nature of the information in
the universe. The conclusion reached by information
theoreticians as a result of long studies is that:
is something different from matter. It can never be reduced to
matter. The origin of information and physical matter must be
instance, let us think of the source of a book. A book consists
of paper, ink, and the information it contains. Paper and ink
are material elements. Their source is again matter: Paper is
made of cellulose, and ink of various chemicals. However, the
information in the book is nonmaterial, and cannot have a
material source. The source of the information in each book is
the mind of the person who wrote it.
this mind determines how the paper and ink will be used. A book
initially forms in the mind of the writer. The writer builds a
chain of logic in his mind, and orders his sentences. As a
second step, he puts them into material form, which is to say
that he translates the information in his mind into letters,
using a pen, a typewriter or a computer. Later, these letters
are printed in a publishing house and take the shape of a book
made up of paper and ink.
can therefore state this general conclusion: If physical matter
contains information, then that matter must have been designed
by a mind that possessed the information in question. First
there is the mind. That mind translates the information it
possesses into matter, which constitutes the act of design.
Origin of the Information in Nature
we apply this scientific definition of information to nature, a
very important result ensues. This is because nature overflows
with an immense body of information (as, for example, in the
case of DNA), and since this information cannot be reduced to
matter, it therefore comes from a source beyond matter.
of the foremost advocates of the theory of evolution, George C.
Williams, admits this reality, which most materialists and
evolutionists are reluctant to see. Williams has strongly
defended materialism for years, but in an article he wrote in
1995, he states the incorrectness of the materialist
(reductionist) approach which holds that everything is matter:
biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more
or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of
matter. These two domains will never be brought together in
any kind of the sense usually implied by the term
“reductionism.” The gene is a package of information, not
an object. In biology, when you’re talking about things like
genes and genotypes and gene pools, you’re talking about
information, not physical objective reality. This dearth of
shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate
domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in
their own terms.
contrary to the supposition of materialists, the source of
information is not matter but a superior Wisdom beyond matter.
This Wisdom existed prior to matter. The possessor of this
Wisdom is Allah (swt), the Lord of all the Worlds. Matter was
brought into existence, given form and organized by Him.
superior Wisdom is stated in many verses of the Qur’an, one of
which is as follows:
(the angels) said, “Glory be to You! We have no knowledge
except what You have taught us.
You are the All-Knowing, the
(Surat al-Baqara: 32)
Gitt, Werner, "In The Beginning There Was
Information"CLV, Bielefeld, Germany, pp 107,
Williams C.G ( 1995) "The Third Culture Beyond The
Scientific Revolution" ( J. Brockman. Ed.) Simon
And Schuster, New York. pp 42-43